Trash the dress

There’s a thing on TikTok, I’ve discovered which amuses me greatly.

It’s called #TrashTheDress and as you’ve maybe surmised, it’s about taking your wedding dress and completely thrashing it.

I mean, I SAVED my dress but I’ve never worn it again and part of me does think it would’ve been cool to get pictures of us trashing the dress in the pool or in the ocean at the end of the wedding party.


Trashed the dress👰🏼 but so worth it for the photos @brandonmeck #trashthedress #tulum #weddingdress #wedding #foryou

♬ Memories (Drinks Bring Back) – Ajay Stephens

That said, it seems an alternate thread has popped up where #TrashTheDress means you’re getting divorced and so you completely ruin the dress you wore to your wedding while a hired photographer takes professional photos and video of you doing it.

Occasionally, the song playing in the background refers to the husband cheating on his wife.


And NOW, there’s something even more nasty than thrashing your own dress:

Doing a boudoir photoshoot to commemorate your divorce.

Yes, you read that right.

Something to say that you’re untying the knot and re-entering the dating pool.

Well, you know what I say?

Good for her!

I think every woman should experience a boudoir photoshoot at least once and who am I to judge how someone should heal from their divorce?

Hiking Half Dome in Yosemite

Many MANY years ago, I hiked to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite with my friends Robin, Albert and Barry.

I figured I’d never be in better shape than I was then so I might as well complete the 18+ miles round trip hike and see the views from the top.

Me and my companions slept in and so we didn’t get a start up Half Dome until around 11 am.

Oh, was that LATE to start!

I remember as we made our way down the trail a mounted Park Ranger stopped her horse long enough to poke fun at us, “Nothing like an early start up Half Dome.”

Or some such nonsense.

Albert was not having any of her smart assery.

He mocked her for the next few miles.

Somewhere along the way, we lost Robin.

Her shoes weren’t gripping the terrain as well as they should have so she stopped at a rest area and read a book while the three of us kept on.



It took damn near forever, but around 3 pm, we managed to reach the base of Half Dome.

If you’ve never been to Half Dome, THIS is what you see when you reach the base:

A rickety little “staircase” attached to the rock face, with periodic wood beams attached like stairs so you can rest securely on the rock.

One side of the ladder is people going up, the other side is people going down.

So don’t go thinking that you get the WHOLE ladder to yourself, now.

Albert blasted ahead, eager to get to the top.

I labored.

I’m not sure I would have made it up to the top at all if it hadn’t been for Barry who kept cheering me on and encouraging me to keep setting one foot ahead of the other.

Finally, Barry and I crested the ridge and arrived at the top of Half Dome.

This is us at the top:

The adventure didn’t end there.

Oh no.

By now, we were starving, having gone through our food and water, so we hightailed it back to Robin at the rest area and continued our climb down the mountain.

By the time we reached the valley floor, Albert’s knees had given out on him.

Even though it was a full moon, very little light reached us beneath the tall sequoias.

Fortunately, I brought one little rickety flashlight to guide us.

And EVENTUALLY we made it back to our car, back to our camp, and back to our lives.

It was QUITE the adventure and I’m so glad I did it.

I’m also infinitely thankful for Barry’s support getting up Half Dome.

Yes, we should’ve brought more food and water.

Yes, we were silly youngsters oblivious of the commitment it took to hike Half Dome.


Snapshot of my life

Okay, I have a pet peeve.

America is self-destructing and Facebook is still marketing garbage to me.

Cheap dresses from China.

False eyelashes from all over.

Strange oddities from (like a vaginal steamer).

Who does Facebook think I am?

Gwyneth Paltrow?

Amidst all this chaos, I am continuing my regular rituals of getting up early, going to work (from my dining room), and working on costumes.

The Egyptian slave costume is finished and I’m happy to say that my friend Nadine has a matching outfit.

So on to the next costume – an angel outfit complete with halo and wings.

It’s what I do to keep the anxiety at bay.

I’m also looking into online MBA programs offered by UC Davis, San Jose State, and Purdue Global.

The good news is that all these programs look affordable and reasonable for me to be accepted into.

The bad news is I have to take 2 semesters of economics and one semester of statistics to meet the prerequisites of applying.

Maybe also an algebra class (something I tested out of in high school when I took college calculus as a senior).

So there you have it – a snapshot into my life as it exists right now.

So, the car fire. . .

As we’re leaving Middletown after our hot air balloon ride (the same Middletown which burnt to the ground in the Valley Fire of 2015), we’re driving down this windy mountain road when all of a sudden we’re driving through smoke.


We come around a blind curve to find a white van pulled to the side of the road and FIRE IS DRIPPING FROM ITS UNDERCARRIAGE.

Jeff, my sexy pilot, pulls our car over and jumps out.

He runs to the van where PEOPLE ARE SITTING INSIDE.

“Get out!” he yells.

No one moves.

“Get out of the car!” he tries again.

Still, no one moves.

One last time, “Get out of the car it’s on FIRE!!!”

The car occupants obviously understood the word “FIRE” because they jumped out of the car.

That’s when Jeff, the hero of this story and my current crush, jumped INTO the burning vehicle.

He moved it away from the dry brush it was near and away from overhanging trees so that it wouldn’t catch the forest on fire.


Because what Middletown really DOESN’T need is another forest fire.

In the end, there was nothing to do but let the car burn.

Jeff ushered us back in our car and we left the scene.

About 5 minutes into our drive we finally passed 2 fire trucks coming up the grade to deal with the fire.

I can only image what the scene must’ve looked like by then.

Here is the picture I took of the car fire.

Notice Jeff literally flying in from the right side (dressed in khakis) to save the day.

I know what you’re thinking.

You’re thinking, “Is he single?”

And the answer is no, he’s married.

But a girl can fantasize.

car fire

Balloon Adventure Chronicles: The Sewage Treatment Plant and Fire Fallout

balloonMy hot air balloon ride adventure began when the van I was in got pulled over for having expired tags.


The cop was in a foul mood and actually yelled at the hot air balloon owner/operator a few times.

Not nice.

Anyway, the error got sorted out and we were on our way, me sitting next to a very chatty driver named Ben.

Once we established that I was indeed taking a romantic hot air balloon ride BY MYSELF, he was all friendly and even told me I looked like Anna Nicole Smith.

Yes, I get that, I told him.

So we drive all the way to Middletown to escape the low laying fog in Sonoma.

You remember Middletown?

It burned to the ground in the Valley Fire of 2015.

Middletown fireSo that was our scenery when 30+ of us took off in three separate hot air balloons.

Oh, did I mention the sewage treatment plant? Yes, there was a sewage treatment pond below us as we surveyed the barren, blackened landscape.

sewageWas I freaked out?

A little, but not as bad as I thought I would be.

The sound of the propane jets gave me the willies, but overall it was a nice, floaty, pleasant hour long ride.

balloonMy balloon was named Bliss and it was a rainbow which I LOVED.

My pilot was a hot, bearded fellow named Jeff and I loved him too.

pilot jeffNot just because he was a good pilot and a funny guy, but because he handled the CAR FIRE WHICH FOLLOWED SO WELL.

More on that later. . .

IMG_9871 IMG_9850



SoulFire 2016: The Heatstroke Chronicles

white witch michelleMaybe it was just me.

Maybe everyone else did just fine.

But I managed to get myself good and overheated as well as dehydrated at SoulFire TWO DAYS IN A ROW!

Tejas and I arrived on Friday at 10 am and set up camp in the heat. Once camp was set up we drank rum and cokes until I started to worry that I wasn’t getting enough liquid so I drank 3 diet cokes.

Just a word of advice: Diet Coke DOES NOT PREVENT DEHYDRATION.

No it does not.

Because at about 9 pm after battling a dehydration headache for about two hours, I gave up and went to bed with 3 Tylenol RIGHT WHEN THINGS WERE GETTING GOOD!

I laid there, freezing cold, wanting a bed partner to snuggle with while I recovered.

But no, there were no bed partners to be found.

I laid in bed until about 1 am, then got up to party only to find that the party was winding down.

So back to bed.

Try again another day.

Cue Saturday.

I’m drinking TONS of coconut water to keep me hydrated and yet with the 95 degree heat I still manage to overheat.

Dante took me to the Restaurant to sit in air conditioning and cool down.

I was dizzy walking up the hill to the Restaurant (even though I was wearing nothing but pink ruffled panties and a crochet bikini fringe top).

There was an art exhibit going on in the Restaurant and I found that if I positioned myself just right I could stare at a picture of a dolphin while the vent blew cold air up my butt.

It was amazing!

So, lessons learned:

Diet Coke is not the same as water

Coconut juice will not prevent overheating

Do what you need to take care of yourself

However, if you fuck up (like me) then friends are so helpful when you’re not feeling well.

Love to Tejas for giving me Tylenol and love to Dante for cooling me down.

michelle and tejas

Critter Cam

I’m so enamored of my Critter Café that I decided to buy a critter camera to watch the animals.

It’s even got night vision and a motion sensor so I can see what goes on when the sun goes down.

Am I feeding deer and raccoons?

I could really get used to this homesteading thing.

It’s so enjoyable to work from home and have everything I need to do my job and manage my life all in one place.


Take a nap for lunch.


Grab a quick snack from the fridge.

Today, because I was at home, I did my good deed for the day.

I rescued my neighbor’s dog, Lady Jane.

Lady Jane, a golden miniature poodle, ran into our garage and acted skittish.

It was hard to get my hands on her.

Until I said the magic words. . .

“Go for a walk?”

She made a beeline for me and laid down right in front of me, presenting me with her belly.

I scooped her up and delivered her to the neighbor, who has no idea she’d gotten out.

Crisis averted.

I’ve definitely got a thing for our four-legged companions.

More than anything, I’d love to get another dog or a cat.

But since I plan to move out in a few years and I know rentals that allow pets are hard to come by, I’m refraining from adopting.

I’ll just have to be satisfied with my old cat and my critter cam.

Can’t wait to see what shows up on my critter cam!

Feel free to poach

Honestly, when I decided to do a boudoir photo shoot in 2014, I impressed myself.

I did it not because there was some man I wanted to impress, no.

I did it because my initial reaction to seeing the boudoir photoshoot advertisement was “HELL NO!”

Then I paused and realized I didn’t want fear to hold me back.

So I signed myself up.

It was my BIG ADVENTURE of 2014.

Incidentally, Burning Man was my big adventure of 2015 and it BLEW MY BOUDOIR PHOTO SHOOT OUT OF THE WATER!

So today I cleaned one of my lingerie drawers and I came across PILES of lingerie I bought for my photo shoot.

So I did what any hot blooded American woman would do. . .

I put on my boudoir playlist on Spotify and listened to songs like:

Ooh La La by Goldfrapp

Red Riding Hood by Elysian Fields

Glory Box by Portishead

And the quintessential strip tune (thanks to Kim Basinger in Nine and a Half Weeks) You Can Leave Your Hat On by Joe Cocker.

I mean, what’s not to like about a man who can sing AND has a last name of Cocker?!

So here it is, in all its glory – MY BOUDOIR PLAYLIST.

Feel free to poach songs for your own photo shoot.

Just in time for Mother’s Day

I made another quilt.

It’s not finished yet, but the top has been pieced together.

It’s a quilt I made using ten inch white fabric squares and fabric markers.

I supplied my nephews with the squares and markers and they designed 12 unique designs to incorporate into the quilt.  Here are two:

I sewed a simple window pane pattern around the squares and I must say, I think the quilt turned out lovely.

It was really simple to do and I followed only the pattern in my head to make it.

Took just a few hours for me to pull together.

Here are the supplies I used:

Ten inch cotton squares (also known as a layer cake):

If you’d like, you can also use five inch cotton squares (also known as a charm pack):

Fabric markers – get the ones with fine point and chisel point tips for drawing lines and filling in space:

Add a little love and magic and voila!

You have yourself a charming quilt.

Just in time for Mother’s Day, I might add.


Michelle’s All-You-Can-Eat Critter Buffet is open for business and let me tell you this. . .

The critters are FLOCKING to it!

I’ve seen squirrels, finches, ravens and even a mouse or two snacking at the 24-hour café.

One small problem.

The ravens overwhelm the little birds when they are there.

Free food is great for the ravens but it saddens me to see the little birds kicked out of the café.

So I bought a bird feeder for SMALL birds and hung it in front of my living room window.

I filled it with small bird feed and would you believe it after just a mere 30 minutes, the little birds found it and started snacking?

This Shelter-In-Place order is doing funny things to me.

I’m homesteading!

Suddenly I’m aware of the wildlife around me, as I never have been before.

I want to help make my backyard a mecca for them.

Someplace they can go for an easy meal and safety.

[Of course, this assumes my old cat won’t go back to being the lethal death force that he was now that he’s in his declining years.]

I can’t take credit completely for my newfound interest in wildlife.

I must thank my friend Frosty Paws whose Facebook posts inspired me to follow in her footsteps to create a critter Shangri-La in my backyard.

Let me encourage each and every one of you to try this out in your own backyard.

It’s so exciting to see the little animals flock to the food!

Given how much we consume of natural resources, it sure is nice to give back in a small way.

Next up on Michelle’s List of Homesteading To-Dos:  Build a bee house!